Just after joining UBF around 1987, a concerned family member sent me a newspaper clipping where a former member claimed UBF was a cult.
I was alarmed so I showed it to my UBF shepherd (a Korean missionary). He immediately took the clipping and said he would keep it safe.
Well, due to the power of the internet and digital media, I can now access over 50 newspaper articles about UBF. So far all of them claim that UBF is a cult based on excessive control of young people’s lives.
Having just resigned as Director of Detroit UBF in 2011 out of protest for cult-like behavior, I would say I have to agree with every cult assessment of UBF. Here are three samples.
Sunday Free Press
Pages 1, 17
“Cult fears raised”
A Korean-based group whose activities are being monitored by U.S. cult-watchers has been recruiting in Winnipeg for more than two years, a former member says. The University Bible Fellowship uses high-pressure recruiting tactics, alienates members from their family, and uses forms of thought-control during prayer meetings at a Sherbrook Street house, says [name removed], 20, who was a member of the group for about five months.
“I don’t like their tactics,” he said. “They come on hard, really hard. We were almost wondering if this was a kind of Moonie thing.”
[name removed] said daily scriptural readings and Sunday worship services— where some recruits make large financial donations — are held at the Sherbrook Street house. He said the missionaries are highly motivated.
“They really believe they’re the servants of God. Its just their methods that are very cult-like. They turn you against your parents Families just don’t understand.
“They try to turn you into evangelists. They prey on the weak-minded. “It’s definitely a form of brainwashing.”
The Capital Times
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Pages 23, 27
“UW student felt suffocated by Bible group”
University Bible Fellowship found him at a weak moment and tried to take over his life.
He was walking down University Avenue, having just broken up with his longtime girlfriend, and “I was sort of lost. I wanted to feel steady and calm.” Group members urged him to visit their center, which he later did. Though initially skeptical — “I had a lot of gripes about it because they equated service to God with UBF” — he soon found comfort in Bible study sessions and other activities. He extolled the group’s virtues to friends and family…
As his involvement deepened, though, University Bible Fellowship started to feel suffocating. Fellowship leader [name removed] made increasing demands on his time, he says; rather than feeling a sense of belonging, he just felt isolated from the outside world.
“Bible fellowship battling cult label”
Is it a cult or is it a cultural misunderstanding? Some educators say the University Bible Fellowship lures impressionable students into a mind-controlling cult and is not welcome on campus. But the fellowship — which has many missionaries of Korean descent — blames its troubles on cultural misunderstandings and conflicting religious beliefs.
Gord Gillespie of the Manitoba Cult Awareness Centre says students are generally approached by two people, who ask if they are missing something in their lives. They are then invited to join a Bible study group.
“They deal with the orthodox Bible but they twist it,” he told the Winnipeg Sun, which ran the stories of some former members of the fellowship earlier this spring. They want control. “They try to rule out TV, reading newspapers. They want them to reject family and friends.”